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See Ego Death.com for the complete essay:
The Entheogen Theory of Religion and Ego Death explains what is revealed in religious revelation and in enlightenment, including the nature of personal control agency.
The essence and origin of religion is the use of visionary plants to routinely trigger the intense mystic altered state, producing loose binding of cognitive associations. This loose cognitive binding then produces an experience of being controlled by frozen block-universe determinism with a single, pre-existing, ever-existing future.
Experiencing this model of control and time initially destabilizes self-control power, and amounts to the death of the self that was conceived of as an autonomous control-agent. Self-control stability is restored upon transforming one's mental model to take into account the dependence of personal control on a hidden, separate thought-source, such as Necessity or a divine level that transcends Necessity.
Myth describes this mystic-state experiential insight and transformation. Religious initiation teaches and causes this transformation of the self considered as a control-agent, through a series of visionary-plant sessions, interspersed with study of perennial philosophy. Most modern-era religion has been a distortion of this standard initiation system, reducing these concepts to a weak interpretation that is based in the ordinary state of consciousness.
The Entheogen Theory of Religion
The main origin and ongoing wellspring of religion is the use of visionary plants. These plants include Psilocybe mushrooms, Henbane, Cannabis, Opium, Peyote, Salvia divinorum, and Amanita mushrooms.
Visionary plants have been commonly used around the world throughout the history of religion and culture (Hofmann, Schultes, & Ratsch 1992), including in the various forms of Western Esotericism (Heinrich 1994). Greek and Christian mythic-religious systems often refer to visionary plants (Ruck, Staples, & Heinrich 2001). Leading mystics throughout the history of various religions have used visionary-plant sessions on-demand, with mystic-state experiencing that was largely rationality-oriented (Merkur 2001).
Meditation, shamanic drumming, and liturgical ritual were developed as activities to do in the plant-induced dissociative state, not as methods of inducing the dissociative state in the first place.
The Origins of Christianity in Entheogenic Initiation
The extent of entheogen use throughout Christian history has barely been considered yet (Hoffman 2007). Early Christianity involved mystical, religious, visionary experiencing, including the experience of the transformative, transcendent power of the Holy Spirit at Eucharistic agape meals (Johnson 1998). Early Christian writings show familiarity with ecstatic mania, inspiration, elevated sobriety, and ‘drunkenness’ induced by ‘mixed wine’ (Nasrallah 2003).
The Jesus figure is portrayed in the New Testament as a spirit-possessed altered-state shamanistic healer (Davies 1995). The figure of Paul the Apostle is portrayed as a shamanistic mystic (Ashton 2000), and the apostles are portrayed as adepts in altered-state mystic experiencing (Pilch 2004).
Solving the riddle of the original mystic-metaphorical meaning of Christianity requires also understanding the surrounding metaphorical altered-state initiation systems throughout Christian history. These altered-state initiation systems that were related to Christianity, include Roman religion, Neoplatonism, Western Esotericism, and astral ascent mysticism.
"Sacred Activism is the fusion of the mystic's passion for God with the activist's passion for justice, creating a third fire, which is the burning sacred heart that longs to help, preserve, and nurture every living thing." - Andrew Harvey
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